Women are main consumers of plant-based food

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24 June 2021
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Women are main consumers of plant-based food

A SWEDISH report based on in-depth interviews with researchers, experts, start-ups, trend analysts and consumers has looked at the largest drivers of plant-based food and reveals that women are showing the way in the transition to a sustainable food system. 

In the report, 'Växa Tillsammans' ('Grow Together'), ICA, one of the leading food retail companies in the Nordic region, takes a close look at drivers and obstacles related to plant-based foods, having partnered with research firm Novus to conduct the survey Växtbaserat 2025 (“Plant-based 2025”). 

“This year’s future report clearly shows how women and young people are a step ahead in driving plant-based cuisine. We are also seeing that women are concerned about the climate issue to a higher degree than men, which is likely one reason why women have a greater propensity to choose plant-based alternatives,” said Ann-Katrin Tottie, future analyst at ICA.
 
In ICA and Novus’ survey, 28% of women say that they think the food they choose has a large climate impact, whereas 18% of men say the same. There were also nearly three times as many women as men who say that they cook vegetarian or vegan food at least twice a week (29% of women, 11% of men). In response to which statements best describe their relationship to food, 31% of women say “I would eat more plant-based/vegetarian foods, but not semi- or fully processed products”, which 18% of men agreed with. 

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The generational differences are also clear: in the younger population (18-29 yrs), 31% say that they prepare at least two vegetarian or vegan dishes a week, while the figures are 24% for the age group 30-49 yrs, 15% for the age group 50-64, and only 8% for 65-79 year olds.

On the question of which factors are most important when choosing plant-based/vegetarian, 39% said a willingness to reduce their carbon footprint, which makes this the strongest driver behind choosing green.  
The climate aspect can also be seen as a driver that may continue to grow ever-stronger among Swedish consumers in the coming years. The survey shows, namely, that when thinking about the future, nearly seven in 10 (67%) are concerned about climate change, and in the younger age group of 18-29 year olds this number is even higher (74%). Among the so-called early adopters of new foods, who play a role in shaping coming years’ trends, we also see that nearly half (48%) believe that their choice of food has a major impact on the climate – a figure that is more than twice as high as the average (23%). 

The offering of substitute products is growing, and the report shows that for many consumers, it is more important that products taste like the ingredients they are made of rather than what they are intended to imitate. 

A full 81% of respondents in the survey say that they want information about “the exact origin” when choosing food products.